While the Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced a seven-phase poll for the 403 seats in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, the feud between Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his allegedly estranged son, state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav continued with both parties failing to reach a truce even after a much-awaited meeting on Tuesday.
It all started on Dec 30 when Mulayam expelled Akhilesh and Ram Gopal Yadav from the SP for releasing his own list of 235 candidates, defying his father who announced his 325 candidates on Dec 27 for the upcoming assembly polls.
Two days later Akhilesh played a coup against his father Mulayam. He called an emergency convention of party workers at Janeshwar Mishra Park and got himself elected as the new president of the SP replacing Mulayam, while Netaji was given the status of “mentor and senior most leader”.
Mulayam declared the convention “unconstitutional” and called for an official national convention on Jan 5 at the same place. He was also quick to suspend the key supporters of Akhilesh.
Voting in Uttar Pradesh will be done in seven phases – Feb 11, Feb 15, Feb 19, Feb 23, Feb 27, Mar 4 and March 8. Counting is on Mar 11.
Here are 10 major developments on the incident:
1. Expelled SP general secretary and Akhilesh’s cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, who is being seen as his chief mentor, claimed to media that the state CM has the support of “90%” of MLAs and hence his faction should be considered as the “real” Samajwadi Party.
2. Ram Gopal visited the ECI on Tuesday and laid claim over the party symbol – the bicycle. On Jan 2, Mulayam had also met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi to file for ownership rights over the party symbol, which is a valuable asset of SP.
3. Now it is up to the ECI to either allot the symbol to one of the two factions, or suspend it, or freeze it and not allow both sides to use it.
4. The attempt for a compromise started on Tuesday morning with senior SP leader Azam Khan convincing Mulayam and Akhilesh to have a telephonic conversation. Khan, earlier on Dec 31, had tried a reconciliation as well.
5. After the call, Mulayam flew down from Delhi to Lucknow in a chartered plane, escorted by state Cabinet minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati.
6. Akhilesh later met Mulayam at the SP patriarch’s resident on Vikramaditya Marg.
7. Mulayam’s brother Shivpal Yadav was also present at the meeting.
8. Party sources said Mulayam was in no mood for a patch-up and compromise on core issues and said “yes” only because of their personal relationship and his seniority.
9. Akhilesh reportedly became emotional at the meeting and said his “tough decision” to take over the party was not to dishonour Mulayam but to “protect loved ones”.
10. There was also an unconfirmed news of Mulayam and Akhilesh meeting a second time late Tuesday where the latter told his father that he is ready to give up the post of party chief if his father allows him to decide on the SP’s poll candidates.
(Sources: The Hindu, NDTV, TOI, HT)
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.